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Javelina Willow Rough Anniversary Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-11-28
35 by photographer avatartibber
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Javelina Willow Rough Anniversary Loop, AZ 
Javelina Willow Rough Anniversary Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 28 2021
Hiking10.19 Miles 1,154 AEG
Hiking10.19 Miles   5 Hrs   17 Mns   2.11 mph
1,154 ft AEG      27 Mns Break
1st trip
Kelly and I are way overdue for a hike. Kelly picked @rayhuston's route from Feb 2021 [ RS Mapped triplog ] which we copied except for his far northern loop. We met at the TH around 8:15 (and you know me, I asked for 9 :lol: ) . And just like the chickens, we crossed the road to get to the other side 😏 to start hiking.

The first part of the hike on the Javelina Mine Trail, once you got into the foothills, was very rough as the horses have really torn it up making it very rocky. It is no fun. I reviewed my previous trip reports from the area and I didn't complain about the trail, so I think this rockiness is new. We did see quite a bit of horse traffic on this hike; more than I've ever seen out in the Goldfields. We also some areas where they were likely trimming from their horses based on the branch cuts and the branches would be laying all over the trail.

We were glad to get past the section that took us, eventually, to the southern end of the Quartz Crystal Arroyo which is one of the best views in the Goldfields, both coming and going; which we ended up doing as we missed our turn to the Golden Eye Mine Trail. But if you have to backtrack 1/2 mile, this trail is not a bad choice; we didn't complain.

Once on the Golden Eye Mine Trail I recalled being on it before. It was also pretty torn up in places and some of the dips were steep and slippery. We did notice some big bike tire tracks too. Once we gratefully leveled out, the trail was in a little better shape. Kelly happened? to look left and saw the Golden Eyes arches so we grabbed a couple pictures. Not far from here is the Willow Springs Tank Basin area, we didn't see a tank. You also cross what appears to have been an old road.

Further up we entered into the wash/road and a tour of jeeps passed us by... very nice jeeps. We missed our turn out of the wash so ended up backtracking again; a theme for our day at times. From here we headed WNW crossing over new territory and nearing a rock formation we had been seeing from a distance. We had great views to the Four Peaks as well. We once again got to enjoy some bedrock hiking toward the north end of this loop using the Rough N Ready Willow Springs Crossover Trail.

We opted not to do Ray's exploration loop and instead continued following the track which eventually does a bit of a u-turn... a little hard here to see the trail as you cross a slightly steep mini-wash and then turn left (south) onto the Rough N Ready Canyon Trail. We lost the trail and ended up walking in the wash and came to a fairly deep pool of water that we had to get around. We think the trail was to the left (west) that we missed. As we walked in the wash we did eventually find the trail again.

We passed by some pretty cool geology along the way, in particular the white striping in the golden tuff. We crossed over the wash a couple times and at one corner saw 4 horseback riders. As I looked up I saw a deep brown jagged rock formation shooting up from the ground and I recognized that as the north end of the Quartz Crystal Arroyo. We decided the little water pond here would make a good stop for a snack.

After a quick picture of the Arroyo we continued on the Rough N Ready Canyon Trail but detoured west to do the Anniversary Arch Loop. We both had done this before altho Kelly had not done it via this direction. I had done this angle in 2019. It's a nice little gradual climb to the saddle where you turn left (south) and once again, we did the same thing where it looks like the trail goes slightly left but it actually goes up over the bedrock (I made this same error in 2019).

And not to be outdone, the trail goes to the right but if you want to see the Anniversary Arch (guess it's also called Dragon Eye Arch which seems like a better name), you need to stay high so we backtracked once again :lol: . Kelly went up to the Arch and I stayed low to take her picture; she got a really nice one I think. From here you amble down and around a slightly rocky trail (yes, the horses use this one too) to meet back up with the junction of the Rough N Ready Canyon Trail that you take south, in and out of the wash to intersect back with the road. You do pass by some high golden grasses which light up the sides of the hills this time of year. And, of course, you have a nice view to the Superstition Ridgeline and Weavers Needle.

We had a heck of a time keeping on the trails so to avoid wash walking, you may have to look around, there's trail for the most part. Kelly got her double digits and this ended up being my longest hike of the year. Ironically, the last longest hike I've done, 15.43 miles was in the Goldfields with Kelly back in 2015. I was pretty tired as it had started to warm up pretty good those last couple miles and some of the terrain was a little rougher than I'm used to hiking. It was nice to have the breeze from time to time. We had our beer before heading to Los Gringos for Pablano Chicken Enchiladas.

FYI: here is the link to the named trails out there by the bike riding community ... -111.48512
And don't be sad, we were hiking fairly fast for me and the terrain was pretty rough so no video :o .

WATCH: 9.8 miles (1738 low, 2227 high points) 133 avg bpm, 168 max (40% at max, 32% level 4, 22% level 3) burning 2102 calories. Starting temp 51.9 and 51% humidity (didn't seem that high) finishing at 1:41PM
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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